Friday, 16 December 2011

Winter is wonderful too!

As 2011 and the Archbishop’s ‘Year of the Environment’ comes to a close, the Winter update on the flora and fauna in the grounds of Bishopthorpe Palace has been published today.

In the last of these seasonal updates, written by Garry O’Reagan, the Head Gardener, he explains that winter is just as important as any other season in the Palace grounds. The Archbishop of York added: “Whilst the conservation and environmental work will continue into 2012, I want to thank Garry not only for all his hard work in the garden but also for taking the time to write these updates for the website.  We are custodians of a garden that has been created over hundreds of years and we hope to aid its growth and development for many generations to come. Let us have the same attitude to the fantastic planet God has given us.”

You can read Garry's Winter update here.

Friday, 9 December 2011


We've been made aware of a new idea called TendaGrave - if you're someone who spends time in churchyards, you might be interested in this.

Tendagrave is a free service for people who cannot for whatever reason tend a family or friend's grave. It will put you in touch with other people in a similar situation. You then offer to tend a grave in your local area and, in return, your loved one's grave will also be lovingly looked after.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Churches urged to apply to new £10m Government green fund

The Church of England has welcomed the Government announcement today of a new £10 million Local Energy Assessment Fund which gives community groups, including churches, a chance to bid for money.

The new Fund, announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC, will provide grants for around 200 community organisations, including churches, to undertake energy efficiency projects and renewable energy generation in their area.  With a Christian presence in every community, the CofE's churches are perfectly placed to house local energy efficiency projects, said David Shreeve, the Church of England's national environment adviser.

"It is good news that DECC consider churches and other faith groups as vital parts of the local community. The deadline for application and delivery is tight but many churches are currently considering ways of harnessing renewable energy for their buildings and this may just be the spur they need.

“A recent communication I received from 10 Downing St stressed the Prime Minister’s recognition that Church assets often sit at the heart of the community   Shrinking the Footprint the Church of England's national environment campaign, provides advice and toolkits for the local church as it rolls out vital green community projects as part of its ministry and mission."

There is around £50,000 available for each successful community to be used to help assess the potential for energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation and get things started in their area. This is a short-term scheme where work will need to be completed by end of March 2012.

Interested communities can apply via the Energy Saving Trust and money will be allocated in two rounds. The first round closes at noon on 22 December 2011 with successful applicants notified in the week beginning 9 January 2012. The second round will close to applications at noon on 20 January 2012 with successful communities notified at the end January.  Full details can be found at

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project Autumn Newsletter

The Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project autumn newsletter is now available, with stories about bees and butterflies, the 2011 Open Churchyards, and news on headstone cleaning.  You can download it here.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 18 November 2011

Surge of signatures on power feed-in tariff petition

The Church of England is calling on the Government to slow down their plans to drop the rate of returns on electricity grid feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic panels to give churches, and other community groups, more time to complete installation. It is also asking for a special community tariff.

The online petition from the Archbishops’ Council’s Cathedral and Church Building Division has already attracted almost 1000 signatures from both individuals and groups. Already 35 CofE churches have photovoltaic panels installed and more than 300 are actively considering a project.

Installing photovoltaic panels on churches is a complex business and the 50% cut in return rate proposed for December 12 will penalize churches who are committed to installing photovoltaic panels, but will not have time to complete, says the petition.

The installation of photovoltaic panels is promoted across the CofE’s 44 dioceses as a way of using natural resources to reduce the carbon footprint of a church.  The Church, through its national environment campaign Shrinking the Footprint, is committed to the Government’s carbon reduction targets of 80% by 2050.

Martyn Goss social responsibility officer for Exeter Diocese said; “This news is very disappointing. Here in the Southwest we have been encouraging churches to install panels and many will be adversely affected by this cut in tariff resulting in having the rug pulled from underneath them by such short-term political decision making”.                                                              

David Shreeve the Church of England’s national environment officer said: “The returns on a photovoltaic project will not be as financially attractive as they were and take longer to pay back. Whilst in the life of a church building this is not a long time it will take us into the next generation. As well as enabling churches to use renewable energy, we see photovoltaic panels on church roofs as setting a brilliant example to their local communities.”

Eleanor Course

Friday, 11 November 2011

Solar and photovoltaic panels

Solar and photovoltaic panels on Churches are the subject of much national discussion at the moment.  Phil Thomas, Church Buildings Officer and Graham Andrews, Archbishop's Adviser for the Environment, have written some useful guidelines for churches thinking about solar and photovoltaic panels here.

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Peter Owen-Jones visits Pickering

Television presenter and Vicar Peter Owen-Jones will be talking about the Church and its relationship with the environment in a talk at Potter Hill Methodist Church, Pickering, on Thursday 17th November at 7.30pm.  Entrance is free, and no tickets are needed.

Peter Owen-Jones is best known as the presenter of many BBC television series including ‘How to Live a Simple Life’, where he followed in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi attempting to live freed from material constraints and without money.  Also for the BBC, Peter presented ‘Extreme Pilgrim’, in which he lived as a Chinese Buddhist monk, a Christian monk and an Indian ascetic, and ‘Around the World in 80 Faiths’, a travel documentary encountering different religions.

Peter Owen-Jones said, “The environment is the greatest issue Christianity faces today.  If we believe that God created the world, we should love and cherish it, for the rest of the creation that we share the world with, and for future generations.  At the moment our world is in crisis, and churches need to lead the way in changing that.”

The talk has been organised by one of Ryedale’s ‘Green Deans’, the Revd Bill Page.  Bill said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming Peter to Pickering and hearing him speak on the church and the environment.  The talk is part of the Diocese of York’s Year of the Environment, where we’re encouraging individuals and churches to make a difference to their environment in 2011.”

Peter is the vicar of three parishes on the edge of the Sussex Downs and also a founder member of the Arbory Trust (the only Christian woodland burial site in the country) and has recently instigated the ‘Life Cairn’ Project.

Eleanor Course

Monday, 24 October 2011

Autumn – my favourite season

As part of his Year of the Environment celebrations, the Archbishop of York today has invited people to view online the Autumn update from Bishopthorpe Gardens.  You can read the update here.

This is the third seasonal update about the flora and fauna habitats within the grounds at Bishopthorpe Palace.

Written by Garry O’Reagan, the Head Gardener, it features the introduction of spring bulbs in preparation for next year, the tree chosen to celebrate the Year of the Environment planted by the Archbishop, clutches of eggs hatched from the bird boxes and the squirrels busy burying conkers in the lawn.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “Autumn is a wonderful season, a time of harvest and a time of thanksgiving for what nature gives us”.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Food recycling in Easingwold

As part of the Year of the Environment, Easingwold Deanery’s Green Deans Margaret Price and Helen Kitchen organised a Food recycling project. For 3 weeks a total of 23 households and 2 shops collected all their food waste into Grott Food Residue to Energy Sacks, and this was collected and disposed of to a Combined Heat and Power process, a way to produce renewable energy from food pre prep and leftovers.
Over 250 kgs of food residues were collected, saving Hambleton District Council money in diverting this resource from landfill. Food waste in landfill creates methane gases that are more harmful to the environment than CO2.  It is costly to dispose of to landfill and these costs are rising every year.

It has been a revealing process, many people surprised by how much they do throw away, and what they throw away.   Overall, 60% of the weight of our rubbish is food.  Composting at home can reduce this by half.
The photo shows Georgina Bingham, Director of AH&I, the company behind the Grott Range of Products which are aimed at resource recovery and who are helping to create a solution to the problem of food waste collection and disposal, and Margaret Price, at the Stillington Collection point.

On Friday, 7th and Saturday, 8th October, a stall with leaflets, more results of the project, and a number of freebies, will be outside Towlers in Easingwold, with a craft activity on the Saturday.

Helen Kitchen, Easingwold Deanery Green Dean

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Moorsholm Community Wildlife Garden wins Northumbria in Bloom awards!

Moorsholm in Bloom, including the St Mary's Community Wildlife Garden, has picked up awards at the recent Northumbria in Bloom 2011 Awards. Congratulations!

PCC Secretary Ken Gillance told us, "We won the Gold Medal for the 'Best conservation project' in the Special Awards, and in the Major Awards we won the Best Village class (population 301 - 1000), Gold Medal and 'The Wansbeck Trophy' for the Best Village of that size, in the Northumbria area.

"The work in the village and the promotion through the Northumbria in Bloom campaign, is all done by our groundforce team 'Moorsholm in Bloom' a voluntary community group which also cares for the churchyard and church hall grounds. The conservation award, whilst based on a number of heritage features across the village, did also include the conservation work in our churchyard which the judges inspected and were very impressed by. The team are highly delighted with these results, particularly as it is only our second year of entry in the competition.

"On Sunday 28 August 2011 we held a joint service for all the Danby Castleton Benefice led by Revd Dr Michael Hazelton of Danby, which included a blessing of the new garden and official opening."

Congratulations to all involved in Moorsholm!

Eleanor Course

Yorkshire campaigners ask: The Conservatives – The Greenest Government Ever?

On Saturday 1 October over one thousand campaigners from the north of England will gather at Manchester Cathedral to urge the Conservative party to live up to its green promise by doing everything in its power to make sure global climate talks deliver for the poorest people in the world.

On the eve of the Conservative party conference in Manchester Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund will warn the party not to abandon its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever.’

Eighteen months on from David Cameron’s promise, the charities now want to see the Prime Minister playing a proactive role in delivering firm climate policy that works for the world’s poorest.

The group of charities will come together for an ecumenical service which will begin at 5pm

Tearfund President, Elaine Storkey, will lead the service and speakers will include leading South African theologian Professor Tinyiko Malueke and Christian Aid’s Director Loretta Minghella.  This will be followed by a procession from 6.15pm to the G-Mex centre (where the Conservative party conference is being held) and on to Albert Square.  Here a candlelit vigil and a minute’s silence will be held to stand in solidarity with the world’s poorest who are already suffering the impacts of climate change.

The campaigners will stress that developing countries desperately need world leaders to take stronger global action on climate change, and that the UK must take a lead in the G20 and the upcoming international climate negotiations taking place in Durban, South Africa in November.

North East campaigner, Valerie Barron, said, “It is vital that our government lives up to its promise to be the greenest ever.  We need strong leadership from them ahead of the UN climate conference in Durban.  I felt compelled to make sure they hear this in Manchester.”

In 2009, developed nations pledged to have a fund up and running by 2013 and that this should deliver $100bn of climate finance per year by 2020 to help poorer countries cope with the impact of climate change. But the charities fear that the economic crisis may result in rich nations not fulfilling this pledge or finding new sources of finance to fulfil this.

Climate finance is key to making the next UN climate conference in South Africa a success, the charities say, but currently there is no agreement on where money for the new Green Climate Fund, agreed at UN climate talks last year, will come from. These discussions are happening at the G20.

Christian Aid’s Director Loretta Minghella said, “We need the government to galvanise international support for the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, without which there would be no enforceable rules on carbon emissions and we would risk climate anarchy.”

The charities acknowledge that the UK has, in the past, positioned itself as a world leader on climate finance issues, but that in the midst of the economic crisis, such leadership is notable for its absence.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - what can you change?

We hope that this focus on purchasing has helped you think about what you buy and what changes you could make to help our world.

Is there anything your church could do with its purchasing power?  Could you become a Fairtrade Church, use Fairtrade communion wine or start a community Grow Zone?

As an individual, could you plan meals that only use British food, buy recycled toilet paper, or Fairtrade wine?  Let us know!

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying Fairtrade

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability. You can read more about Fairtrade here and discover what you can buy and what it means to the producers.

We interviewed Christine Church from One World Shop in Hull - watch the video to discover how what you purchase can change people's lives.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying recycled

Buying recycled products means less rubbish ends up in landfill sites and fewer valuable natural resources are wasted. For the recycling industry to be able to work, there has to be a market for recycled materials. By buying recycled products, you are helping create this market and ensure that valuable materials don’t go to waste. Buying recycled doesn’t mean having to skimp on quality either.

The most common recycled product is paper. You can easily find recycled toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, tissues, stationery and packing materials, as well as printer, copier and writing paper.

Other recycled products that are available in supermarkets and on the high street include:
  • wine and water glasses – and even champagne flutes
  • glass jugs and bowls
  • school uniforms
  • bin bags and tin foil
  • reusable shopping bags
  • newspapers
  • clothing, including fleeces made of recycled plastic
  • furniture
  • play materials and toys
  • tiles and bathroom fittings
Try searching online for 'recycled products' or have a look at the UK recycled products guide. 

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - grow your own?

If you have your own allotment or garden, or even a grow bag in your yard, you'll know how satisfying it is to grow your own food and keep your food miles low.  Could you form a group at church to grow food, perhaps even inviting members of the community to get involved? 

Grow Zones is a community project bringing help and inspiration to your garden, wonderful food to your table and adding friendship and purpose to your life.

A Grow Zones team clubs together to share skills, tools and produce to eliminate food miles and turn gardens over to permaculture at whatever level you want – from a redesign of your whole plot to simply helping and sharing with someone else’s once or twice a year.

The project gets people growing; introduces permaculture ideas; forms community; and teams even benefit from insurance cover for their group activities. Backed up by the Grow Zones Kit you’ll have all the resources, ideas and inspiration you need to get going.

To order a Grow Zones Kit and find out more visit

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying locally

If you buy products that are made locally, you reduce the amount of fuel burned in transporting those goods to your door.  It's hard to buy a washining machine that's made locally, but you can buy locally grown food.

17th September to 2nd October is British Food Fortnight when retailers encourage people to buy food grown in Britain.  It's also the York Festival of Food and Drink until 25th September, where local producers will be showing off the best of local food and drink.  If you want to know more about food and drink producers in our area, deliciouslYorkshire has some great lists of where to shop. 

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What does purchasing have to do with the environment?

When you shop, the decisions you make really do matter.  The products that we buy, including the food we eat, has taken energy to produce and transport it to you.  Energy produced by burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change, which can lead to devastating floods or droughts in developing countries. 

As the customer, you have a lot of power.  Ask for what you want!  If you’re looking for greener products, want to know how something was made or can’t find the information you need, ask the manufacturer or retailer.  Keep asking if you have to.  If more people ask, retailers are more likely to start stocking greener products and providing the information you want.

Over the next week, we’ll be looking at how buying locally, buying recycled and buying Fairtrade can make a huge difference to our world. 

Eleanor Course

Monday, 19 September 2011

Focus on Purchasing

From 19th to 25th September we're looking at purchasing as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at how you can use your spending power to make a difference to the world.

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for purchasing. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on purchasing?

Heavenly Father, help us as consumers to use the power that we enjoy to influence the world of commerce for good.
Make us mindful of the provenance of the goods we buy;
show us how to guard against the exploitation of people, the ill-treatment of living creatures, the misuse of the environment and damage to this planet,
and give us an appreciation of the true cost of everything we buy, and of the fuel and resources used to bring it to us.
Save us from indifference, and help us to act responsibly,
that we may play our part in bringing fairness through trade and commerce to people wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eleanor Course

Headstone Cleaning

Elizabeth Hardcastle from the Living Churchyards Project has alerted us to a product for cleaning headstones that could harm the delicate ecosystem of our churchyards.  HG Headstone Cleaning Spray is widely available, and is designed to remove algae and moss growth from gravestones.   These algaes and mosses are vital to the ecology of churchyards, and there’s a possibility the chemicals could damage the stones as well.  If you want to make your churchyard a greener, more environmentally friendly place, please encourage people not to use these sprays.  For more information on managing your churchyard to help the natural habitat and ecology of native plants and animals, visit the Living Churchyards website.  Elizabeth Hardcastle is the Project Officer, and she will be pleased to discuss any thoughts or aspirations relating to your churchyards.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Green Travel Sunday

Churchgoers around Northallerton and Thirsk will be travelling to their Sunday services in environmentally friendly ways on 18th September.  The Revd Ian Houghton, vicar of 11 churches, will be driving an electric car around his parishes.

Canon Richard Rowling is Rural Dean of Mowbray (the churches in the Northallerton and Thirsk area).  He said, “As part of the Diocese of York’s Year of the Environment, we’ve challenged churchgoers in the Deanery of Mowbray to travel to church in green ways on 18th September.  I hope lots of people will walk or cycle to church instead of driving, and maybe even decide to travel green on other occasions.  The natural world is a gift from God to enjoy; but we are also called to join with God in sustaining and caring for it.”

The Revd Ian Houghton, vicar of 11 churches including Cowesby, Felixkirke, and Leake said, “I’ve been lent an electric car, a Peugeot iOn by Simon Bailes Peugeot in Northallerton, so that I can travel to my churches in an environmentally friendly way on 18th September. I can easily cover 60 miles on a Sunday, visiting my churches, so there’s no way I could walk that!  The electric car from Simon Bailes will help me to reduce my carbon footprint and help the planet.”

Bridget Charlton of Simon Bailes said, “Eco-driving is becoming really popular across our region and it is extremely positive to see local communities embracing the new technology and playing their part in becoming more environmentally aware. The iOn is ideal for these types of trips and will make a real difference to Ian’s carbon footprint.”

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Harvest Festival Resources

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling, the Archbishop's Advisor for Rural Affairs, has put together some excellent resources on celebrating Harvest Festivals. You can download these here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

What will I do?

We hope this focus on transport has helped you to think about ways you could travel in a more environmentally-friendly way. What changes can you make?

I’m going to get a bike. Bike Rescue in York that sells recycled bikes – I’m going to go along and find a bike that suits me, and get cycling. I want to be able to cycle to do my grocery shopping, and cycle to my allotment. Eventually, I’d love to be able to bike to work – but that may take some time to get my fitness levels up!

What will you do?

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Going on holidays

Air travel is a growing contributor to climate change. In 2006, air travel accounted for 6.4 per cent of the UK’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas causing climate change. Forecasts suggest that this could grow. If no action is taken, carbon dioxide emissions from aviation could make up around 10 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions by 2020.

Reducing the amount you travel can lessen your impact on climate change – and could also save you time and money. Instead of holidaying abroad could you think about taking a holiday within the UK? Or, if you do want to holiday abroad, taking one longer holiday will have a lower impact than going on several short trips if you are flying each time.

When making journeys in the UK, and even internationally, there is often the option of getting there without flying. On average, travelling by rail results in about a third of the CO2 emissions of the equivalent domestic or short-haul flight in Europe. Travelling by train is often as convenient as flying too.

If air travel is unavoidable, you could think about offsetting your emissions.

Planes burn fuel when they fly, and this produces emissions that contribute to climate change. You can compensate for your emissions by paying someone to make an equivalent emissions saving or reduction – this is called carbon offsetting.

More and more air travel companies now offer an offsetting scheme when you purchase a flight. There is also a government quality mark you can look for, which could help you choose a good quality scheme. For more information, see the link below.

Carbon offsetting can help reduce the impact of your activities in the short term. However, it’s not a substitute for producing fewer emissions in the first place.

Road traffic is a major contributor to air pollution near airports. Leaving your car at home and finding other ways of travelling to the airport can help reduce climate change effects and local air pollution
Airports usually have good public transport links, and you may find a bus or train quicker and more relaxing than going by car.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cycling to work

As well as taking a more environmentally friendly way to get to church, could you walk or cycle to your workplace? Quite a few people cycle to work at Diocesan House – one of these people is Anita Ranyell, Administrator & PA to Canon Dr Ann Lees, Diocesan Board of Education.

"I live in Stillington, 9 ½ miles from Clifton Moor, and I got a job working in the education team at Diocesan Office, 3 years ago. I thought there were only 2 ways for me to get to work – by car or bus (and only on the bus if I was desperate as there was still quite a walk from the bus stop!).  I never gave a thought to the rising fuel and car running costs, keeping fit or my impact on the environment.

Having always been a keen cyclist (I’d like to think it’s in my blood, my second cousin Gatis, is a professional road bicycle racer in Latvija), I hadn’t thought about it as a means of transport to work. Having decided to “fitten up” I decided to cycle to work one day a week. Friday seemed a good day as it is “dress down day” so it would be ok to look a little more casual in the office. I may only be taking one car off the road one day a week, but I have looked into the statistics; both local and global pollution would be reduced if each car-driving person pledged to use their car 30% less, starting immediately. This is a responsible, individual contribution to a global problem. At least 30% of vehicle use is optional – either recreational or lazy driving when walking, cycling or public transport would be a better choice.

The environment is also doing something good for me; just last week as I cycled through Sutton on the Forest, I heard the twit twoo of two barn owls, a sound I would never have heard had I been in the car with Radio 2 on full volume.  I was also really fortunate to have a woodpecker fly parallel with me one day, just a few feet away, going from tree to tree, a sight I have never seen before and won’t forget. 

Of course it is better when the sun shines, but even in the rain it is still a win win situation as everyone benefits. I’m now looking to extend to 2 days a week, then who knows..?"

Thursday, 8 September 2011

What could our congregation do?

Could you encourage your church to try to travel to church without using their cars on a Sunday this year? Could this be on Sunday 18th or 25th September, the Sundays either side of World Car Free Day on 22nd September?

The Deanery of Mowbray is encouraging its churches to have environmental awareness Sunday on 18th September. People are being encouraged to walk, cycle, ride or share a lift to get to church, or to offset their mileage if they have to use their car. There’s more about carbon offsetting here.

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

World Car Free Day

Each year, 22nd September is celebrated as World Car Free Day. This not only a day to give up your car, but also a chance to put pressure on politicians to give more importance to cycling, walking and public transport.
If you’re interested in World Car Free Day, there are ideas and resources here.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Making cars more efficient

Although a world without cars would be much greener, it would also be very difficult to live in, especially if you have a disability, or you live in a rural area. There’s no doubt that it is easier to do without a car is easier in if you live in a town or city. So here are some tips to make your car greener and more energy efficient:
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure(check once a month) and properly aligned (get your alignment checked every 5,000 miles)
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed setting (a poorly tuned car can loose up to 20% fuel efficiency)
  • Watch your petrol mileage for problems. Compare mileage for different brands of petrol - some may give you better mileage.
  • If you own more than one vehicle, try to use the one with the best mileage.
  • Minimize use of your air conditioner (but only if you can leave the windows up) and improve your fuel efficiency
  • Drive the speed limit - you can save 15-20% by driving 65 instead of 75. Optimum MPG are found at 35-45 MPH.
  • Avoid quick starts and stops. In general, drive as smoothly as possible.
  • Keep windows shut at high speeds.
  • Don't start your car until you are ready to drive off.
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds.
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary, heavy items around in your car. On trips, avoid using roof-racks, car-top packs or towing a trailer if at all possible. 
Eleanor Course

Monday, 5 September 2011

Greener transport

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon emissions from travel is to reduce the number of times you use your car.

This is obviously easier for shorter journeys, but also more relevant - the heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that a car is driven, while the engine is still cold.

Before setting off on a journey, think if you could walk, cycle, or take the bus or train. Alternatively, could you combine errands, and save a journey later? Could you plan out the shortest route possible when combining errands?

Eleanor Course

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The problem of pollution

Travel by motor vehicles – whether it’s the journeys we make everyday, or the transport of goods across the world – is a major cause of pollution. That pollution affects our health and the health of our planet.

The exhaust fumes from a car or lorry’s engine contains a large number of different chemicals or emissions. Once released into the air, exhaust emissions are breathed in and transported in the bloodstream to all the body's major organs. Diesel seems potentially to be more of a problem than petrol.

The most obvious health impact of car emissions is on the respiratory system. It's estimated that air pollution - of which vehicle emissions are the major contributor - is responsible for 24,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. Many of these deaths are due to asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases - all of which are known to be aggravated by exposure to car fumes.

And just as exhaust emissions can harm our health, they harm the planet’s health. In the 21% of the greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide and methane) emitted in the UK are from motor vehicles. These greenhouse gasses are contributing to changes in climate, affecting people all over the world, but especially in developing countries.

Over the next week, we’re going to look at ways that we can reduce the greenhouses gasses we produce when we travel, to help protect our environment.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Focus on Transport

From 3rd to 11th September we're looking at transport as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at what you can do to change the way you travel to help change the world.

Personal travel accounts for up to a quarter of all the damage individuals do to the environment across Europe, including climate change effects. How many times have you used a car today?

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for travel. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on travel?

Lord, our life is often likened to a Journey, a journey of discovery, a journey that changes perspectives and brings us closer to you. As we go about our daily business, enable us to think and plan our travel so that it minimises the impact on your planet. May we in all things be respectful and honourable travellers for the sake of your creation and the glory of your name. Amen.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Open Days at St Helen and the Holy Cross, Sheriff Hutton

St Helen and the Holy Cross, Sheriff Hutton, home of one of the Diocese's pioneering 'green' churchyards will be open from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September.  There's a video about the Churchyard above.

There will be tours and talks on the history of the Grade 1 listed early C12th church, which has connections to Richard III and featuring the tomb of Edward of Middleham, the only Prince of Wales buried in a parish church.

On Thursday, the church is open from 9am to 5pm, on Friday the church is open from 9am to 6pm, with a BBQ and Big Sing at 6pm.

On Saturday, the church is open from 9am to 5pm with history talks at 2pm and 3.30pm, and a visit to Sheriff Hutton Castle at 5pm.

On Sunday the church is open from 9am to 6pm, and Evensong with the Bishop of Selby is at 6pm.

Refreshments are available on Saturday and Sunday.  Contact: Roy Thompson, Churchwarden email: 01347 878644.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 28 July 2011

St Mary’s Church Moorsholm - A Community Wildlife Garden

Ken Gillance, Secretary of Moorsholm PCC, tells the story of St Mary’s Moorsholm's wildlife garden.

Lying on the northern edge of the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors National Park, midway between Whitby and Middlesbrough, Moorsholm is home to a community of around 370 people – a mixture of local farming families, commuters working mainly in the Teesside conurbation and retired people. St Mary’s Church stands in the centre of the village with a large churchyard burial ground which now extends into the grounds of the neighbouring Church Hall. It demands a great deal of labour to maintain it to a satisfactory standard and three years ago when the small PCC could no longer cope they appealed to the community for help. Rescue was at hand. An enthusiastic group of community volunteers came forward and joined in the task with enthusiasm. Initially devoting regular Tuesday mornings to work in the churchyard, the team has now taken on the care of the whole village, including conservation projects.

The work at first involved regularly mowing the grass and holding back nature’s threat to create a wilderness. Someone suggested that a wilderness can be a place of beauty. In December 2009 we were advised by the Assistant Diocesan Secretary that 2011 was to be the “Diocesan Year of the Environment” and parishes were asked to focus on initiatives to help in reducing “Carbon Footprints” and conserving wild life habitat. We responded and called in Dr Sue Antrobus of Tees Valley Wild Life Trust, an expert on churchyards. Following her survey and report we began to appreciate the value of what we already had, particularly the many wild flowers and grasses which were inhibited by constant mowing but still present. Realising the potential for creating a wild life haven we called on Martin Allen of Wildflower Ark in Middlesbrough who surveyed and advised on the nurturing and improvement of the existing wealth of native plants. We were to create small areas of the churchyard where mowing would not take place until July or later, corresponding with the bygone days of ‘hay time’ mowing, allowing the wildflowers to mature and seed before being cut back.

This required sensitive handling since many who visit the churchyard to visit graves, like it neat and tidy, and conservation areas are seen by some as untidy. Appropriate discussions within the community identified areas which could be used as ‘conservation areas’ and not mown until mid-summer. In the second year of the project we are discreetly enlarging the wild life plots. So far we have not received any complaint about the conservation areas.

The existing wildflowers are now beginning to re-appear with ox-eye daisies, cowslips, and the latest – a small colony of hare bells.

We have also placed bird boxes across the churchyard, including the Archbishop’s gift which is set high in our Weeping Ash and presently houses a family of fledgling tree sparrows.

The roof at the East Gable of the Church houses a colony of wild honey bees which have been reproducing and swarming there for the past 30 years or so. To help sustain them we have recently planted a collection of ivy, cotoneaster (firethorn) and similar climbing pants which are late flowering or of special value to bees and hoverflies.

Our latest innovation is the establishment of a Quiet or Sensory Garden in the Church Hall lawn. This required a Faculty granted in December last and the planting of the garden has just been completed with a wide variety of flowering plants and wildflowers which are now beginning to bloom. It is hoped that this will provide a more accessible source of nectar for the bees as well as a place of beauty and quiet for all who visit St Mary’s Church and Wild Life Garden.

A rain water butt has been installed at the Church Hall to provide water for the Quiet Garden. Composting bins have been built at the bottom of the churchyard in which we can recycle all the grass-cuttings and all the fallen leaves from the large sycamore and ash which line the churchyard walls.

Ken Gillance, Secretary of Moorsholm PCC

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

News on "Smart Meters"

The BBC website has news on the effectiveness of installing smart meters in properties a a means of encouraging consumers to cut down their use of electricity and gas.  Smart Meter savings 'uncertain' says Audit Office.  This will not be a surprise to many - if people do not make any connections in their mind other than consumption and cost there is probably little incentive to cut back consumption.

Graham Andrews

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Climate Change - Bearing Witness

On Saturday 1st October, the eve of the Conservative Party Conference, supporters from around the UK will be joining Christian Aid, Cafod and Tearfund in Manchester for a day of learning, campaigning and worship on the issues of climate change and global poverty.

Speakers from around the world will come together to discuss global issues with a focus on the damaging effects of climate change on the world’s poorest communities. They will include former president of the South African Council of Churches, activist and theologian, Prof. Tinyiko Maluleke, who will speak on how the global church and Christians can lead action on climate change.

After the speakers and a special ecumenical service in the Anglican Cathedral, attendees will form a procession to the conference centre, where the Conservative Party Conference will be taking place, and will hold a candlelit vigil to pray for the government not to forget the world’s poor during its conference.

By taking a stand in Manchester on this day, organisers and supporters hope to remind the Conservatives of David Cameron’s promise to be the ‘greenest government ever’. The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are already suffering the impacts of climate change and are being hit first and hardest, despite doing the least to cause the problem. Now is the time to reflect on what the government has achieved so far, but also to remind them of their pledge and encourage them to do more to help these communities.

If you would like to join the ‘Bearing Witness’ event, or you would like further information, you can register at or call the Christian Aid’s Yorkshire office on 0113 244 4764.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Save our seas

In the Diocese of York, many of our towns and villages sit on the coast of the North Sea. Twelve Wildlife Trusts (including Tees Valley and Yorkshire), located across the East coast of England have teamed up to promote protection of the North Sea's weird and wonderful marine wildlife, from the smallest plankton to the largest whales.

Visit the the North Sea Wildlife website to discover what they do , and what you can do to help protect our seas – their tips include:
  • Getting outside - Take some time out and discover your local marine life. Why not take a trip to your local coastline and discover what's around you. Look in a rockpool, go for a walk or just sit and have an ice cream watching the waves roll in. Discover what's out there and why it's important, discover its value to you.
  • In the home - Making changes to your everyday lifestyle can reduce your personal impact on our environment. Use environmentally friendly detergents and avoid toxic chemicals in your home and garden. Reduce, reuse and recycle your rubbish and watch what you flush. Every year hundreds of thousands of used cotton buds end up on our beaches after being flushed down the toilet!
  • Eating right - Watch what you eat and buy only seasonal and locally caught fish that hasn't been over-fishing or captured through methods which cause harm to the environment. Check the labels for details or how and where your seafood has been caught, if it's not clear, ask the fishmonger for details. Supermarkets are becoming more and more aware of the need to stock sustainably caught seafood. Do not be afraid to ask for their help in choosing what to buy. 
Eleanor Course

Friday, 8 July 2011

World Oceans Day

Water pollution not only affects people, but also our environment. 8th July is “World Oceans Day”, which is an opportunity to focus special attention on our world's shared oceans. We can celebrate our personal connection to the sea as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the increasingly critical need for each of us to help conserve its wonders and resources. Visit the World Oceans Day website for more ideas and information on how we can save our seas.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bishopthorpe is ‘Blooming Lovely’

As part of his Year of the Environment celebrations, the Archbishop of York today has invited people to view online the Summer update from Bishopthorpe Gardens.

The section entitled ‘Summer at Bishopthorpe Gardens’ can be viewed at

This is the second of four seasonal updates about the flora and fauna habitats within Bishopthorpe Palace. It is hoped that this resource will not only appeal to gardening enthusiasts and 'twitchers' but all those with a general interest in the environment.

Written by the Head Gardener, it features the flowerbeds in full bloom, news that the Minster Rose is on its way to Bishopthorpe and the planting of six Wellingtonia Redwoods. The Palace Grounds have also recently been designated a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “It is thanks to the efforts of the gardeners that the grounds continue to look so good. In summer, there is always so much colour in the garden, which is a joy to see”

Eleanor Course 

Toilet Twinning

If you watched Elizabeth’s story and want to help people get access to adequate sanitation, why not twin your toilet? Tearfund and Cord run a Toilet Twinning initiative to help some of the 2.6 billion people who don’t have a safe toilet.

For £60, you can twin your toilet at home, school or church with a latrine in Africa. You'll receive a framed certificate of your toilet's twin, containing a photo, the latrine's location and its GPS coordinates so you can look it up on Google Maps.

Tearfund and Cord will use the money raised to help households have their own loo; enjoy better health; go to school and work; and fund other projects to alleviate poverty around the world.

Since the launch of Toilet Twinning in 2009, more than 1,600 latrines have been built in Burundi – providing safe loos for nearly 10,000 people!

You can discover more about Toilet Twinning at

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Dying for the toilet?

In 2009, Elisabeth Martin, a student from York, delivered a petition of 200 signatures on a toilet seat to 10 Downing Street to highlight the lack of progress on the Millennium Development Goal which promises to halve the number of people in the world who lack access to clean water and adequate sanitation by 2015.

Elizabeth was inspired to campaign when she worked in Uganda over the summer, leading a team who built a rainwater collection tank in a remote mountain village. Elisabeth’s team experienced life without basic amenities. She said, “For women and children, walking four hours a day to collect diseased water is normality. Girls miss school, carry phenomenal loads and are vulnerable to rape. Without basic toilets people lack dignity and safety. Talking toilets is a taboo subject but 5000 children die each day as a result of waterborne diseases.”

Watch the video to learn more about her story, and discover if our government has done anything since 2009 to halve the number of people in the world who lack access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


If you’re already saving water in your home, how else can you help people across the world get access to safe, clean water? You could consider supporting WaterAid. WaterAid and its partners work with individuals and families in their own communities and use a mixture of low-cost technologies to deliver lasting water, sanitation and hygiene solutions.

Watch the film to see how how WaterAid is changing people's lives through the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene education, or visit their website.

Eleanor Course

Monday, 4 July 2011

Stop wasting water

When we see that people all over the world need access to safe, clean water, what can we do? Firstly, we can stop wasting water in our own homes.

The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. London is drier than Istanbul, and the South East of England has less water available per person than the Sudan and Syria.

Water is scarce in parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as in England - large scale drought is already occurring in the UK, with the lowest rainfall, groundwater and reservoir levels for decades.

Each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water a day. This takes into account cooking, cleaning, washing and flushing. This has been rising by 1% a year since 1930. This consumption level is not sustainable in the long-term.

If we do not take action now, climate change, population shifts and behaviour mean the UK will face increased water stress in the future.

Below are some tips on how you can save water, and you can learn more at
  • Drop a hippo in your cistern: a hippo is a device that you put in your cistern which reduces toilet flush volumes. About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet.
  • Fill up your dishwashers: Hand-washing dishes typically uses about 63 litres per session; if those dishes are rinsed off under a running tap the total water used averages 150 litres-in comparison, a modern dishwasher can use as little as 15 litres of water per cycle. But make sure you fill the dishwasher or you'll be wasting even more than if you were to wash up by hand.
  • A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath. You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.
  • Before starting your washing machine, wait for a full load - a full load uses less water than two half loads; so, you'll be able to save money on energy and water.
  • Fill a jug with tap water and leave it to cool in your fridge. This way you don't have to run the tap for ages just to get a cold drink.
  • Rubbish for rubbish bins: Try to avoid flushing away cotton balls and make-up tissues - throwing them in the bin will cut down on the amount of water that is wasted by every flush.
  • You can with a watering can: Your hosepipe can spew as much as 18 litres of water a minute. By using a watering can in your garden you can significantly reduce the amount of water wasted; or consider fitting it with a trigger gun to control the flow (although during a hosepipe ban you will need to use a watering can).
  • Invest in a butt: Your roof collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year which then just runs straight into the sewers. This could fill 450 water butts with free water: you could water your garden, your houseplants, or wash your car for free! 
Eleanor Course

Sunday, 3 July 2011

What’s the worry about water?

There are three main ways in which people and wildlife suffer with regards to water - drought, pollution and flood.

Of all the water on Earth, less than 1% is easily accessible freshwater for human consumption, and this water has to be shared with the natural environment. The little bit of water that we are left with is unevenly distributed in space and time, and sometimes is polluted. Over a billion people still lack access to improved water supplies, and one-third of us already live in water stressed areas.

If present levels of consumption continue, two-thirds of the global population will live in areas of water stress by 2025. Increasing human demand for water coupled with the effects of climate change mean that the future of our water supply is not secure.

Almost fifty per cent of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer.

The effects of climate change can be seen in the UK and around the world. Already, British coastal waters have warmed and temperatures have risen. Globally, extreme weather is predicted to become more common – and animals, plants and crops are all expected to be badly affected.

UK coastal waters have warmed by about 0.7 degrees Celsius over the past three decades. In addition, the average sea level around the UK is now about 10 cm higher than it was in 1900.

Globally, the sea level could rise by 18 to 59 cm by the end of the century. Rising sea levels would swamp some small, low-lying island states and put millions of people in all low-lying areas at risk of flooding.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Focus on Water

From 2nd to 10th July we're looking at water as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at what you can to help more people to have safe access to clean water.

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for water. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on water?

Almighty God, we thank you for the gift of water to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life.
May we who have an abundance of water see it as a precious and scarce resource.
Help us to be mindful how much is consumed so that we can live in the way that we do:
guide us to use it sparingly,
and keep us mindful of those who suffer through drought, pollution and flood.
We ask this for the sake of him through whom all things were made,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Solar Panels for Coventry Cathedral?

Coventry Cathedral has applied for planning permission to put solar panels on its roof - if the permission is given, it would be the first cathedral in Briatin to have solar panels.  You can read more in the Daily Telegraph

Eleanor Course

Friday, 24 June 2011

Smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century

New technologies are developing all the time.  The BBC Envrionment website has details of new "apps" for mobile phones that can be used to track wild life.

Graham Andrews

Scarborough Deanery Environment Weekend

Scarborough Deanery are holding an Environment Weekend on 9 - 10 July, at St Mary’s Church and Holy Apostles, Castle Road.  It's free admission, so come and join in the fun - lots to do & learn about saving the Environment.  It will be opened by Green Councillor Dilys Cluer.

On Saturday 9th July, the following will be going on from 10 - 4pm
  • Primary & Junior School Children Poster Competition “Caring for our Environment” results announced 11am at Holy Apostles
  • BIODIVERSITY: Bug Hunt. Children will be helped to identify bugs they find with a bug catcher and magnified container, then return them to their natural habitat. Bird box building if you want to take it home at a cost of £3.00 Advice on creating and maintaining a wildlife garden or churchyard.
  • WATER: How do you save water.? Quizzes & Games. Learn about Aqua box which provides rapid safe drinking water and aid to disaster areas around the world
  • WASTE & RECYCLING: Make your own paper. What to do with waste and how it is recycled.
  • ENERGY: Calculate your Carbon Footprint. Alternative forms of Energy. How to save money & the planet.
  • PURCHASING: Fairtrade Refreshments & Products on sale. Coffee & Chocolate tasting. Find out about the work of Fairtrade.
  • TRANSPORT: Protect your cycle, have it identification stamped. Join in the short treasure walk between the venues, be aware of what is around you.
On Sunday 10th July, from 2 - 4pm there will be Beach Art at North Bay Beach, and a Guided Walk to follow the trail of Angels & Gargoyles.  Meet at St Martin’s Church South Cliff.  At 6.30pm there will be a Thanksgiving Service for Creation, led by the Venerable David Butterfield, Archdeacon of the East Riding, at St Mary’s Church Castle Road.

For further information regarding the Environment Weekend contact Ros Brewer on or 01723 369731.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Green Fund in Baildon Methodist Church

John Anderson is the Eco-officer of Baildon Methodist Church, and a guide at York Minster.  At our recent Big Environment Celebration inYork Minster, John led some of the Green Man tours.  He tells us how his church have used a Green Fund to make changes in their church.

"Emissions of carbon dioxide by humans are far too high for Gods earth and its creatures to survive in their present form and numbers. We must reduce emissions. As regards travel, it is better not to set off than to offset.  But in some cases we MUST emit carbon dioxide to live, for example in using electricity or heating our houses.  We can pay a sum of money for action to be taken that will off-set our own emissions by reducing those of our church. These donations comprise our Green Fund.

"I recommend a Christian website set up by A Rocha [the Rock] which also oversees our Eco-congregation activity:  It works out the costs of carbon offsets. Go to ‘Off set now’, and then click on ‘Flying’ and ‘Land Travel’ and ‘Heat and Power.’ You can use the calculations there for donations to your own Green Fund. If you have not got access to a computer at home, please use those in the library:  the librarians will help you!

"We suggest people donate, per person, £10 for flights outside Europe, £7 per person for flights inside Europe, and £2.50 per 1000 miles for your car.  Moreover, all of us emit carbon dioxide if we use fossil fuel like gas or coal for heating, and by using electricity.  If you cannot go to a website, then I suggest you consider an offset payment of £10 per year if you have one bedroom, £20 a year if you have two, £30 a year if you have three, and £40 a year if you have four bedrooms. This could be a donation for Lent.

"Our Green Fund has contributed much to the campaign to put an energy- and draught-saving porch on Wesley’s.  Once this is done, it will be used to help pay for other energy-saving measures in our church buildings."


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Interfaith Seminar on environment and sustainability

Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environment campaign organised an Interfaith Seminar on environment and sustainability at Lambeth Palace on 21 March 2011, to look at practical action and the faith communities.

The event was coordinated with the London School of Jewish Studies, and sponsored by the British Council with support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

You can download reports from the seminar at, or watch the video for a whistle stop tour of the event at Lambeth Palace, including a personal word from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Wild Gardening

We’ve looked a lot at what can be done in churchyards to help local biodiversity, but what can you do in your own home and garden?

Wild About Gardens is an excellent place to start. Their website has projects you can do from month to month – for example, in June you could:
  • Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird tables
  • Avoid chunky foods that could choke young fledglings
  • Trim hedges less frequently to allow wildlife to shelter and feed
  • Leave nesting birds undisturbed in garden shrubs and hedges
  • Put out hedgehog and badger food
  • Use wildlife-friendly slug pellets if chemical slug control is needed
  • Leave roses that produce hips without dead-heading them
  • Mow spring flowering meadows once bulb foliage has died down
  • Leave annual meadows un-mown
They also have a good guide to what you can spot in your garden throughout the year, and ideas for projects you can do in your garden in a couple of hours. Get gardening!

Eleanor Course

Friday, 17 June 2011

Farming and wildlife

There are lots of farms in the Diocese of York, and many farmers are working hard to protect wildlife on their farms. Robert Campbell is chairman for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, and farms 404 hectares (1,000 acres) across four farms at Stokesley.  I spoke to him about farming and wildlife management.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Save the Bees!

Today’s post comes from Paul Taylor, a Reader in the Benefice of Pocklington Wold and a beekeeper. 

Honey bees, bumble bees and mason bees are important to the environment and for the most part, quite harmless if left well alone. They are busy getting on with living; building a home, rearing young and storing food. They have been doing this successfully for millions of years. The natural world has come to rely on them for pollinating flowers in fields or forests. Then along came man!

We like the sweet taste of honey and though the bees resist our interventions with their suicidal sting, we have persisted and following in the footsteps of monks and others, the art of beekeeping has grown. In Victorian days it was at its peak of popularity in this country but has steadily declined; that is until now. The awareness of the role and benefit of bees in the environment has caught the public imagination and there is resurgence of interest. Research into bee and their diseases is of major interest, especially at the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in Sand Hutton.

Gardens have more bee friendly plants and shrubs like heather and hawthorn. We are putting up with bumble bees sharing our clipped lawns and warm, safe eaves. You can buy or make a bamboo mason bee home. Allotments are becoming a place for bee hives because they ensure good pollination of peas, beans, strawberries and so on. World wide, bees make a huge contribution to the economy particularly in the pollination of fruit trees.

Food for the bees brings food for us. As well as pollen, bees also need water and nectar. You can help them by having a small pond and a ‘wild garden’ with clover and honeysuckle. There is more local honey nowadays in Yorkshire; try it and taste the difference.

For details of local beekeeping visit York Beekeepers, Yorkshire Beekeepers and FERA.

Paul Taylor

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

England’s Endangered Species

In a constantly changing world where wildlife is under threat, many species are declining at an alarming rate. Since 1977 the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has been helping to ensure a future for many endangered species throughout the country. Did you know that water voles, hedgehogs, otters and dormice are under threat or have rapidly declining numbers?

If you want to help these mammals, visit the PTES website for ideas.

Hedgehog numbers have declined by 50% in the last decade – are we facing a future with no hedgehogs in England? A new project to help is Hedgehog Street – visit their website to become a Hedgehog Champion, and learn how you can rally support from your neighbours and work together to create ideal hedgehog habitat throughout your street, estate or communal grounds.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Bird boxes

As part of the Year of the Environment, we sent a nesting box to every church and church school at the beginning of the year to encourage local biodiversity. The churches at Gilling East, Easingwold, Dalby and Stamford Bridge, as well as York Minster, sent us photos of their nest boxes in situ, and St Martin, Kirklevington sent us a picture of their baby tree sparrows!

Mike Page, Churchwarden of St Martin, Kirklevington contacted us to say, "This photograph shows the first brood of any species to be hatched and reared in the bird box supplied by the D of Y earlier this year. Thanks to Alistair McLee (Chairman of Teesmouth Bird Club and licensed “ringer”) who not only recommended the location for the box, but also was correct in forecasting that we would successfully attract tree sparrows and not the more numerous blue tits. The photo was taken as the birds were being fitted with identity rings on 12 May 2011."

Have any birds nested in your bird box? If so, please do let us know at Congratulations to Kirklevington!

Eleanor Course

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sheriff Hutton churchyard – haven for wildlife

There are some wonderful churchyards in the Diocese, carefully managed to care for plants, insects and animals. John Oakley, PCC secretary at St Helen & the Holy Cross, talked to me about what’s happening in their churchyard.

Eleanor Course 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Living Churchyards

If you think your church could do more to help local biodiversity by caring differently for its churchyard, get in touch with Yorkshire’s Living Churchyard Project, run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The purpose of the Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project is to promote the management of churchyards and burial grounds in ways that are sympathetic to the natural habitat and ecology of native plants and animals. At the request of local people, members of the Project make advisory visits to Yorkshire churchyards and burial grounds to survey the wildlife present and draw up a suitable management plan. A large number of parishes, after a visit by the Project’s volunteers, have become self–reliant and successful in developing their churchyard or burial ground as a well–kept haven for wildlife that still remains a place of reverence and remembrance, the last resting place for our forebears.

Taken together, the 1300+ Yorkshire churchyards make a significant area of land that has survived untouched by pesticides and herbicides or by intensive agriculture and urban development. Many native plant and lichen species and their associated fauna survive only in churchyards.

Visit their website, and have a look at their brilliant booklet giving advice on how to manage your churchyard. Elizabeth Hardcastle is the Project Officer, and she will be pleased to discuss any thoughts or aspirations relating to your churchyards.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cherishing Churchyards

The Diocese is focussing on biodiversity from 10th to 19th June, which is also Caring for God’s Acre’s Cherishing Churchyards week. Churchyards are vital tools for churches wishing to help the biodiversity of their locality.

Caring for God’s Acre is a national organisation which aims to inspire and support local communities to care for churchyards and burial grounds in a way which benefits both people and wildlife. Cherishing Churchyards Week is a chance to celebrate churchyards and burial grounds and to raise awareness of the treasures they contain.
You can visit their website and discover how you can celebrate your churchyard and discover what it contains. They’ve got great ideas to make your churchyard a place for families with quizzes, treasure hunts, a mini beast safari and more.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 10 June 2011

Focus on Biodiversity

From 10th to 19th June we're looking at biodiversity as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at what you can do in your churchyards and in your own homes to help the variety of plants, insects and animals that share our world.

Biodiversity is the technical term for the variety of life on Earth. It refers not just to the diversity of species of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria etc, but also to the variety within any one species and to the various ways species live together in ecosystems. Often there is a sense that what is to be preserved is the genetic diversity so that future generations can draw on this as a resource, but many people feel delight in the diversity itself and want to preserve it for its own sake.

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for biodiversity. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on biodiversity?

Almighty God our Creator, you have given us a world that is rich and diverse.
Help us to honour the integrity and balance that lies at the heart of your creation.
Give us vision to see the harm that is done by us and in our name, through greed and carelessness;
and give us true repentance, that through humility and reconciliation with your creation we may bring healing to your world and restore it to your glory,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rogation Service in Whorlton with Carlton and Faceby

The Revd Linda Shipp, vicar of Whorlton with Carlton and Faceby, emailed us to tell us about her churches' Rogation day service.

She said, "Every year we hold a Rogation service in a local barn, this year we decided to celebrate local farming, using local produce to make pancakes during the service. The children helped to make pancakes from eggs donated by a local farmer (laid fresh that morning) and then ladies cooked the pancakes as the service continued. The pancakes were eaten at the end of the service with locally produced jam and honey before we had a BBQ. It was great fun, we prayed for our environment, local farming and blessed soil, seed, water, and went outside to bless the land and animals. Donations were made to Farm Crisis Network."

What a great idea!

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Caring for our Churchyards

The BBC Website has news of a new Government white paper.  (Link - Natural Environment White Paper) This is very encouraging, as the biodiversity of our churchyards represents one of the commitments the church is able to make to the nurture of our Environment.  Let us hope that the new legislation reflects this.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Visitors get growing in York Minster

Visitors to York Minster on Saturday got a taste of the green life as they enjoyed drama, competitions and a host of stalls and displays at the diocese’s Big Environment Celebration.  You can see our pictures here.

Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign, staged a ‘get growing’ seed giveaway along with a competition to win a year’s supply of local Yorkshire Tea, supporting the Yorkshire Tea Rainforest project.

The event, organised by York Minster and the Diocese of York as part of the Diocese's Year of the Environment, was supported by environment groups and organisations from across the county. Visitors also enjoyed an art competition themed on celebrating God's creation and drama sketches throughout the day, performed by the Riding Lights Theatre Company.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said, “The Big Environment Celebration is a great way to show that the Church of England cares about our environment. As Christians, we have a duty to care for our environment. We believe that we are only tenants on this Earth, and it ultimately does not belong to us. If we are tenants of the Earth, we have a duty to care for it – a duty to God, to the rest of the creation that we share the world with, and to future generations.”

David Shreeve the Church of England’s national enviornment adviser said: “The Big Environment Celebration is a great example of sharing our buildings to show our concern and best practice about the importance of caring for the environment. Not only are many people making the most of their land by growing their own produce but the large number of stalls showed how the Church is working with a whole range of groups and organisations.”

Eleanor Course